Mrs Chiazor Anishere (SAN), President, Women in Shipping Africa (WIMAFRICA), has called for more recognition of the significant role seafarers play in the maritime industry.
Speaking during zoom discussion in commemoration of the 2021 Seafarers Day, Anishere said that seafarers were at the very heart of international and global trade.
The Theme of 2021 Seafarers Day is :#Fair Future for Seafarers.
She stressed the need to continue supporting seafarers especially on pandemic related challenges which drew global attention to other areas where fairness was important.
Anishere said that the importance of seafarers in our daily lives cannot be overemphasized, adding that seafarers were responsible for the gradual restoration to normalcy, international trade and business across the world.
She said that basically all the useful items for our daily lives were primarily transported by sea with the help of seafarers.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have created challenging working conditions for seafarers, including difficulties with the port access repatriation, crew changes and more.
“Unfortunately, there are still many seafarers that have not been able to leave ships for an extended period of time beyond their contract.
“Despite these challenges facing the seafarers, they have gone beyond the call of duties working tirelessly to keep global trade flowing.
“Seafarers also play a significant role in the maritime industry which makes them the heart of International and Global trade,” Anishere said.
She said that 80 per cent of the global trade were occurring by maritime transportation.
He said that the work of seafarers had impacted on the global economy, crossing territorial borders and touching the lives of everyone.
According to him, 80 per cent of the global trade are occurring by maritime transportation.
The WIMAFRICA President said that the activities of seafarers had also touched the lives of other sectors such as agriculture, transportation, commerce, technology, commerce, or national defence and health care etc.
She said that transportation by sea remained the enabler for a globalised market place, adding that seafarers’ contributions in the supply chain could not be ignored.
“In 2020, the world experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, which changed lives as we have hitherto known it to be.
“Pandemic challenged how we all transacted and how business was conducted.
“The maritime industry was perhaps one of the worst hit by the impact of the pandemic which was creating challenging operational condition in the maritime environment,” she said.
Anishere explained that as the world gradually recovers from the impact of the pandemic, life had not remained the same for many seafarers, who could only describe the pandemic as one that has made a bad situation even worse.
She said that some seafarers have been made to work extended hours, without opportunity for leave, nor being given the benefits of their engagement, while others were left looking for opportunities to work, better conditions of service.
Anishere, who was the President of Women in Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA-Nigeria), however, hoped for policies that would positively impact on the industry.